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Saturday, 5 February 2011

Spear of Destiny - Ivory Blacks 2/2/11 (Glasgow)

It would seem that the tide of apathy that Spear of Destiny have been battling in Glasgow has finally starting to turn.
The relentlessly indefatigable never say die attitude from the band probably has a lot to do with with the swelling of the crowd, but the impressive supports in the bill wont have done any harm either.
Opening act The Red Eyes, while being familiar enough to the Glasgow crowd, are always a welcome addition to a night of live music and tonight is no exception.
With the return of their guitarist to the fold there's some rock and roll flourishes, and an attitude that provides an alternative focal point to front man Alan Bishop belting out their melodic punk rock.
They've been at it for years, but there's no sign of them slowing down and the quality of their material is testament to their skills as musicians and songwriters.
I'd wager that they could give any band a run for their money on stage
Quite simply put they provide a guaranteed good time for anyone who professes to enjoy the style of punk that bands from Stiff Little Fingers to the Buzzcocks excelled in.
The sort of music that bands played prior to the rash of second wave shouty stud encrusted punk wannabes came along and stereotyped the whole scene.
Much of the same could be said about the The Media Whores who followed them.
While new to me, they must have been around the block in one form or another before as the first flushes of youth are well behind them.
Not that this is a criticism, as their years playing have served them well as they rip through what I would call a melting pot of a forty something's past.
There's some Stranglers in there, some Jam/Chords influences and a whole host of others, but none of them are crowding out the sound that The Media Whores have created.
It's tricky balance to maintain, the wearing of influences on a sleeve without them becoming too overpowering.
There's a few bands that can do it and when it works it's fantastic to hear and The Media Whores are certainly one of the bands that can capture the sound of the past and make it relevant to today.Kirk Brandon's Spear of Destiny are however the main draw tonight and were deservedly provided with a warm welcome when they took to the stage and immediately started in on “Suicide God” from their latest album “Omega Point”.
This was the start of a short set that focussed on the album and I like the idea of it as a way of introducing new material. Sometimes when the songs are slipped into a set of favourites they can get lost in the mix a bit and even suffer from being compared to songs that have had years to bed in with the listener.
In this way the crowd know what to expect and can form an opinion without it being shadowed by past glories.
Model Number One and People who lived on the moon followed in quick succession and I was pleased to see that some people were singing along and a few hardcore fans were drunkenly pressed against the barrier showing their well oiled appreciation.
My album favourite Kalashnikov was up next. I just love hearing it live. For me it is up there with the best that Kirk has written and in a live environment it takes on a whole new guise. Hubris and Undertow (another favourite) finish the short set and while I was happy with it Kirk looks tired and distracted. You can't hear it in his voice, but something isn't quite right.
There's a very short interlude and when the band return for the next set of classics, or “give 'em what they want” as I would call it, there's a little tension there.
It's not reflected in the performance though. The band are as tight as you would expect and Kirks voice is soaring, but the smiles have faded and something is wrong.
The band and Kirk never miss a beat, but something is just off.
Just prior to World Service Kirk wraps his arms around himself and his jaw is tight. It looks like he is battling some physical pain and as most fans are aware that there has been health issues this isn't a good sign.
I was thinking that maybe it would be a good idea to call it a night, but World Service flies by as does Young Men.
An encore isn't necessary, but we get a sublime Mickey and then the show over.
There's no hanging about as such. Everyone sweeps out onto the street and there's some back slapping and comments about just how good Kirk and the band are.
They deserve the praise, but this is the third time I've seen them in a matter of months and I have Kirk booked for a solo gig in just over a week and I think that maybe he could do with a rest.
Especially with the SLF tour coming up.

Update – Kirk played one more date of the tour and is currently in hospital having some tests done.
We wish him all the best and look forward to hearing that he has been given a clean bill of health.


  1. thank you for the kind words about the Red Eyes mate! we really appreciate it!
    it was a good night all round,
    which i enjoyed very much.

    its good to be back makin a big noise in the Red Eyes! We would like to send our best wishes to Kirk,and hope that he is fit, well,and back on the road again soon!

    JimmyD(Guitar-Red Eyes)

  2. I spent a little time with Kirk before the show & noticed immeadiately he didn't look well. He was pleasant enough & took the time to chat a little but, as you say, something wasn't quite right. Best wishes to him & hope a full recovery is imminent. As for the gig, well, The Red Eyes & The Media Whores are as good a pairing to support anyone in Glasgow as you can get in my opinion. SoD were good but the noticeable unease of Kirk took something away.

  3. Best wishes to KB always a fantastic performer and some of the best shows I have ever seen. A speedy recovery.


  4. saw the gig at stockton it was a good night but as you said in the article things just didnt seem right